Romania’s municipal election seen as test for December vote

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Polls opened Sunday in Romania’s municipal election, which is being seen as a test of how the next general election on Dec. 6 will unfold for the country’s minority-led government.

Some 19 million registered voters were choosing local officials, council presidents and mayors to fill more than 43,000 positions across the European Union nation.

The election should reveal the strength of the National Liberal Party (NLP), which has controlled Romania’s minority government since the fall from power late last year of the Social Democrat Party.

Mask-wearing in crowded outdoor spaces made mandatory in half of Romania

BUCHAREST, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Mask-wearing is being made mandatory in crowded outdoor public places in nearly half of Romania starting Saturday, as over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed daily for almost two weeks in the country.

After authorization from the central government on Wednesday, the capital city of Bucharest and 19 of the nation's 41 counties have decided to implement various restrictions, most of which went into effect on Saturday.

Most counties stipulated that masks must be worn in open-air public places such as bazaars or other open-air markets.

Romanian court sentences former finance minister to jail for graft

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A Romanian court sentenced former finance minister Darius Valcov to six-and-a-half years’ jail on Tuesday for taking a bribe and peddling influence in awarding public works contracts in one of the European Union’s most corrupt countries.

Valcov, 43, who had also been an economic adviser to cabinet and authored many of the then ruling Social Democrat party’s controversial tax cuts and price caps, has denied wrongdoing.

The verdict is not final, pending his appeal.

Romania's president aims to extend state of alert to fight coronavirus

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s state of alert in place since May 15 to fight the new coronavirus must be extended by another 30 days until the middle of July, President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday.

Iohannis ordered a strict lockdown in early March to rein in the outbreak and replaced the state of emergency with a softer state of alert mode last month. “We see the number of new infections have not dropped significantly, so we need this mode extended to fight the virus (further),” he said.

Romanian lawmakers endorse PM Orban in vote of confidence

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania’s centrist Prime Minister Ludovic Orban won a parliamentary vote of confidence by a large margin as expected on Saturday, with all parties seeking to end a political stalemate and focus on reining in the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday, President Klaus Iohannis declared a state of emergency from Monday, opening the door to more government aid to combat the disease.

Romanian Social Democratic Party replaces leadership after election defeat

BUCHAREST, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The leadership of the Romanian Social Democratic Party, headed by Viorica Dancila, announced resignation early Wednesday morning, two days after the party failed in the presidential election.

Marcel Ciolacu, speaker for the Chamber of Deputies, was appointed interim president of the largest party in the parliament before the party's congress scheduled for February by the new leadership.

Exit polls show Romania’s incumbent president wins presidential runoff

BUCHAREST, Nov 25 (NNN-Xinhua) — Exit polls showed Romania’s incumbent President Klaus Iohannis has led significantly in the presidential runoff on Sunday, with 64.8-66.5 percent of the vote.

Iohannis’ rival, Viorica Dancila of the Social Democratic Party, got 33.5-35.2 percent of the vote, according to two local exit polls CURS-Avangarde and IRES.

Because of the relatively large gap between the votes for the two candidates, the current president is almost ensured a victory in the presidential runoff.

Ship with 14,600 sheep aboard capsizes off Romania

25 November 2019; AFP: Rescuers were struggling Sunday to save 14,600 sheep loaded on a cargo ship that capsized in the Black Sea off the coast of Romania, they said.

The Queen Hind bound for Saudi Arabia overturned for yet unknown reasons shortly after leaving Romania's Midia port.

The crew of 20 Syrians and one Lebanese were rescued, together with 32 sheep, two of which were pulled from the water, said Ana-Maria Stoica, a spokeswoman for the rescue services.

Romania's pro-EU president expected to win run-off vote

24 November 2019; AFP: Romanians voted Sunday in the second round of presidential elections that are expected to return incumbent Klaus Iohannis to office, confirming the pro-European trajectory of the eastern EU member state.

Thirty years after the fall of communism, the centre-right former physics professor is running against Social Democrats (PSD) leader and former prime minister Viorica Dancila, whose government collapsed last month in a no-confidence vote.

Romania presidential vote seen heading to Nov. 24 runoff

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Exit polls from Sunday’s balloting showed a runoff will be needed Nov. 24 to decide Romania’s presidential contest.

Official results are not expected before Monday, though two exit polls found center-right President Klaus Iohannis collecting nearly 40% of the votes, followed by Viorica Dancila, the recently ousted prime minister, with around 22%. A candidate needs more than 50% of the votes to win the election outright.

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